I have been home recovering from knee surgery; a complete replacement. It involved a 4-day hospital stay, and a very extremely painful recovery. I had chosen to avoid narcotics and use as much non-narcotics for this utmost intrusive surgery. Today, as I sit at my desk, almost 3 weeks past my surgery, I cannot begin to tell you how much regret I have. I am supposed to have the other knee done, but I have chosen to take an alternative approach to it. Since knee arthritis is the single greatest cause of chronic disability among U.S. adults age 65 and older, it might be good to know some of the best alternatives for knee pain.
We need to stop and remember that there are some alternatives to this barbaric surgery. I did acupuncture, took turmeric, took certain herbs and supplements, and did meditations. None of these seemed to work. The truth is, there were some very common things I could have done, and will do to avoid surgery on my other knee.
According to JAMA several studies suggest weight loss is one of the best ways to reduce knee pain is to lose weight. For every pound people lose, it takes 3 pounds of stress across their knee and 6 pounds of stress on their hip. This is significant. If someone lost 25 pounds, they would be taking 75 pounds of weight off their knee and 150 pounds of stress off their hips. Watch what you eat and lose even 10 pounds and you will see a remarkable improvement.
Movement is everything when it comes time for the knee and that is why strengthening your butt is so very important. Research suggests that knee tears may happen when large hip muscles are weak. In general, we have week butt muscles. For most of us, our gluteus maximums is weak. Because of this, it can cause the pelvis to drop and the result is the femur tends to fall inward, which then creates stress on the hip and knee. Therefore, do exercises that improve butt muscles.
Speaking of muscles, it is vital you do exercises that stretch the muscles that support your knees. By stretching the inner thigh muscles, the butt muscle and the supporting muscles of the hip and thigh, and anything to improve and strengthen your core, you will reduce knee pain. Gyms in Tucson can include Platinum Fitness, Chuze Fitness and my favorite Tucson Racquet & Fitness Club, where they too teach martial arts and yoga.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine state that practices like yoga and Tai Chi can really aid in the proper stretching and exercises not only for the muscles groups that have been described above, but for the emotional component of chronic ongoing pain. In Tucson, try Great Harmony Tai Chi Chuan. For yoga try Temple Love Yoga where Michelle Marks can also guide you into a better path of nutrition for pain as well.
Another way you can avoid knee surgery is to see a physical therapist. They are trained to design a regimen that helps you reduce pain and strengthen the key muscles that affect your knees. They can also direct you in using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit, which many people get relief from while they lose weight and improve their muscular group. In Tucson, I personally like Maximum Impact Physical Therapy as I have been through much physical therapy, however these guys really go out of their way with caring. Importantly to know is go to the one your doctor suggests and your insurance pays for.
The bottom line, most knees can be taken care of before they get out of hand through weight loss and exercise. There are many alternatives for knee pain besides surgery. I chose to avoid that however, I will not be having the second surgery and will continue to work with weight loss and exercise the correct muscle groups as this is what is not only the best medicine but the absolute cure for painful knees.